So a week ago I recieved an invitation to participate in PBS POV Regarding War blog. I started shaking, I was so excited. I mean, it’s a huge deal. This is PBS. So yeah, I’m still a little awestruck.
My first thought was oh, shit, now I HAVE to make sure my unit knows about this. Little did I know everything that was going to belong to this process. First stop was my company commander. I’d sent him the two pieces I’d submitted to the NY Times, but now that this was going to be an ongoing project instead of random submissions, I really needed to make sure my unit knew I was playing the public swimming pool. Second stop was to the battalion commander. He thought it was a great idea and I was pleasantly surprised to discover we actually had some of the same thoughts on various topics, such as gays in the military and women in combat.
Stop number 3 (and remember all of this is taking place at 1600 on a Tuesday) was to my brigade PAO. Who wasn’t there. On my way out of the office, I ran into the deputy brigade commander, who thought I looked a little more frazzled than usual. I explained what was going on and he pointed me to the legal office.
Because apparently, not only do I need to have PAO review stuff, which I knew, I did not realize I was stepping into fuzzy ethics. See, apparently, there are rules about what soldiers can do to make money and with the small honorarium that PBS was going to pay (for those of you that don’t know, an honorarium is a small fee for participating in a project, a token, if you will) I’d stepped into the confusing landscape of the Joint Federal Ethics Regulation. Good times.
The ultimate decision was reached that yes, I could participate in the blog but would have to forego the honorarium. The good folks at PBS had no issues with that clause at all. Also, I was told I had to ensure that while we could tell folks I was in the army, I could not use any pictures of me in uniform, nor could I use my title. Basically, there could be nothing to imply that my words represented offical policy.
And with that, we’re off. I’ve submitted my intro and my 2nd post to PAO for approval and am working on the 3rd post. I’m excited to be part of this project because we’ll be discussing women at war, which is something that, even though I might not have been out running the streets, I’ve got a pretty strong recent experience with.
So I’m thrilled and nervous as hell because my brigade commander is going to be reading everything I submit, which is terrifying. He’s a little intense, to say the least.
And we’re off. Wish me luck as the story unfolds!